Mooresville, NC - 9/17/03 - We are pleased to announce that Robert Yates Racing and Jason Jarrett have teamed up for the upcoming Winston Cup race event at Talladega Superspeedway on September 28, 2003. After extensive testing last week at ...
Mooresville, NC - 9/17/03 - We are pleased to announce that Robert Yates Racing and Jason Jarrett have teamed up for the upcoming Winston Cup race event at Talladega Superspeedway on September 28, 2003. After extensive testing last week at Talladega, Yates Racing decided to enter a third car in the race to be piloted by Jason Jarrett, along with regular team members, Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler. This will be the first attempt to qualify in a Winston Cup event for the third-generation member of the Jarrett racing family.
The car number will be 98; crew chief will be Bill Riley. Over-the-wall crew responsibilities will be picked up by members of Jarrett's ARCA RE/MAX Series ML Motorsports race team; sponsorship and paint scheme are currently being determined and will be announced shortly.
Q & A with Jason Jarrett talking about how this opportunity and what it means to his race career.
Q - How did this deal come about?
"Basically, I did some testing for RYR, and I guess when everything was said and done, they felt like they needed to race that particular car. Hopefully, it was because I gave them good information about the car and how it was driving; and it just kind of went from there. Doug (Yates) just came in after the test and asked what I thought about racing that car. From that point on, it was pretty much a done deal - I was going to race one of the cars I tested."
Q - When you say "that car" what do you mean?
"They brought two cars to Talladega to test. RYR had another car, other than the ones that my dad and Elliott are going to race. They felt like they needed to race this car. It's a means for them to learn a little bit about how this particular car will qualify and run in traffic, and how it compares to the other cars."
"As far as I'm concerned, I was just flattered that Doug asked, he could have picked anybody. There are certainly a lot of people out there. I did the two days of testing for them, and this is a great payment for doing that work for them."
Q - Who will crew the car?
"As far as the pit stops are concerned, it will be the ML Motorsports crew. Basically the people that go to each race for ML Motorsports; the over-the- wall people and the people who set up the pits will be with us. As far as practice and qualifying, that will be handled by Robert Yates employees, and Bill Riley will be the crew chief."
Q - How do you feel about all this?
"I'm definitely excited. I haven't even gotten to the point where I'm nervous about it yet. I think that it's going to be a great opportunity. It's going to be one of those things where, you know, I may not get a phone call the next day for a full time ride, but it's at least going to be a little bit of a reward for putting in eleven years of racing --everything from go-karts to late models, to the Busch Series, and not being as successful as I wanted too there, and then back to late models. And then I finally found a pretty good home with the ARCA RE/MAX Series. I really feel like I've learned so much in the last two and a half years in that Series.
"The nervousness that maybe I had going into the Busch Series deal; this race is just not so overwhelming. This being a one-time deal may take a little pressure off as well."
Q - ARCA cars are comparable to Winston Cup cars - as they are so much alike, does it boost your confidence level?
"They are basically the same cars; the same cars that I've run restrictor plate races with. The ARCA car at Talladega will be basically the same as what I tested with Yates.
Q - Running at Talladega - it's a tough track to run. But you've run well at superspeedways in the past as well as short-tracks and your intermediate program has improved substantially over the past. What do you accredit that too?
"I credit getting better with having good equipment in the ARCA series. It allowed me to get more comfortable. I think that may be part of the reason why I didn't do as well in the Busch series. I wasn't comfortable with some of the places we raced, and there were so many I hadn't been too. I've been comfortable since I got that first year of ARCA under my belt.
Q - So what are your expectations here?
"Well, I kind of have a different way of looking at it. I think once I get through qualifying, and I really think that with the Robert Yates engine and the care they have, I believe that we are going to get in the field. The main goal is just to gain experience.
"Once we are one of those 43 cars, there are 42 other guys out there that are basically tabbed as the best stock car drivers in the world. I don't want to sound negative, but 43rd; out of all the people that try to make it in racing, that even 43rd would not be terrible, however with that said, as long as I'm not 43rd with a wreck. I just want to get out there and run all day and learn more about the draft. I feel like I'll probably learn more in one day drafting with those guys, than I have in however may other restrictor plate starts I've had in any other series."
Q - In the ARCA RE/MAX Series - there's drafting no doubt, but in Winston Cup, it's a bigger pack. How do you think that will affect your racing?
"We definitely draft at the superspeedways in ARCA, but it's going to be a totally new experience because every car is going to be in that pack. If I can just hang with the pack all day and learn some of the moves that those guys make, and I'm able to make some of those moves toward the end of the race; if I learn that quickly, then I feel like my day will be successful."
"I really feel that as long as I can give the crew good feedback in what the car is driving like in traffic, and what it does with the cars beside me or in front of me, I think for Robert Yates Racing, hopefully, it'll help them move their superspeedway program along."
"I guess that's my main objective is learn something, and then, for them (RYR) to learn something. I don't want to go into the race thinking that I'm just going to be the "baddest" thing out there. That' just never been my approach and probably never will be."
Q - Any second thoughts about making the field?
"I really don't - I think I have the Robert Yates motor program to my advantage. I think I have the fact that we went and spent two days testing on my side, and I think there's something else that may help. I went into the test not knowing what would happen. We spent two hard days testing, because I wanted to help. Obviously, not just because of the year that my dad's having, but it's maybe a way I can help do something good for my dad. He's always been there to support me as far as my racing career, and I know it's a small amount of payment for what he's spent. But, if I can help move their team even a little closer to the front, then I think it will be a success.
Q - The question everyone will ask - how does it feel to run with your dad?
"It's just going to be one of those weeks where we just have to take it a step at a time. I'll have practice and qualifying for the ARCA race on Thursday with Happy Hour on Friday morning. Once qualifying is over, I'll be able to think a little bit more about that. Ever since I did it the last time, it's something I've wanted to do again. This will be the second time we'll be competing against each other, and it is going to be pretty amazing that it's going to be a Winston Cup race.